Saturday, September 21st, Mental Health Partnerships participated in the annual Pro Act Recovery Walks! down at Penn's Landing. Thousands in recovery and those that support them walked in solidarity to commemorate and celebrate recovery in all forms.
The Trump administration recently proposed a rule to gut states’ option to use broad-based categorical eligibility (Cat El) for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). If adopted, the rule would eliminate SNAP benefits for 3.1 million people, and jeopardize more than 500,000 children’s access to free school breakfast and lunch.
With the attack on general assistance already affecting so many, including Mental Health Partnerships participants and their families, we must make our voices heard on this matter.
Today, September 10th, 2019, is World Suicide Prevention Day. Mental Health Partnerships is committed to spreading awareness, education and support. SUICIDE IS THE 10TH LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR ADULTS AND IS THE 2ND LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR INDIVIDUALS AGE 15-34. 9 MILLION PEOPLE experience thoughts of suicide EVERY YEAR.
We can all take action to prevent suicide and provide support. Despite these concerning numbers, suicide is preventable. With the right resources and intervention, individuals can find help or learn how to provide support to others, potentially saving lives.
It took weeks of working through nominations, but we’ve settled on 10 semifinalists who represent the diversity and innovation of Philadelphia’s health and wellness scene perhaps better than any other crop of candidates we’ve seen. Although they might stand behind different causes, they all have one singularly important characteristic in common: They care about the future of humanity.
“I recall it still being very challenging even though I knew how to read and write English,” Figueroa-Vargas said. “I couldn’t get into treatment.”
The Latinos in Recovery group aims to create an atmosphere that is culturally sensitive to the needs of the Latinx community. The group focuses on addiction recovery, but participants are not limited to talking about that topic.
Carla Sofronski, Program Manager of Adult Advocacy attended The New Jersey Harm Reduction Workshop hosted by the New Jersey Department of Public Health in Trenton. Law enforcement, providers and harm reduction advocates came together to discuss the importance of “meeting people where they are” and implementing more strategies that are person-centered through the lens of harm reduction. In 2018 alone, the Department of Health reported 3,118 overdose deaths in New Jersey.
At the most recent mural painting in Mantua that features one of our program participants. Mental Health Partnerships’ staff Destinie Campanella, Chris Nasto CFO and Dr. Adriana Torres-O'Connor CEO participated with community members on this inspirational mural by artist Eric Okdeh.
The PHL City ID provides a secure and affordable photo identification card for anyone living in Philadelphia, age 13 and older. The card helps create a more welcoming Philadelphia that embraces everyone who lives here. It is especially beneficial for those who have a hard time obtaining other forms of identification because of cost or other barriers.
The Powell Building faces a grassy quad with a pecan grove, lined on either side by red-brick buildings with white pillars and porches. The paint is peeling, windows are boarded up or agape with broken-out glass, but the grass stays neatly mowed. At its peak in the late 1950s, Central State Hospital—once called the Georgia Lunatic Asylum—housed more than 12,000 patients, making it the largest such facility in the world.
As the first Latina CEO of Mental Health Partnerships, Dr. Adriana Torres O'Connor hopes to use her platform to help the Latinx community get the most effective help towards their mental health and addiction concerns.
Many artists who use studio space at the nonprofit Creative Vision Factory (CVF) in Wilmington find both a creative outlet and a sense of community there, a way to help them deal with the struggles they’ve faced in life.
Over the last two decades, Pennsylvania has seen steady progress in serving people with mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Even with recent trends such as the opioid epidemic and an increase in suicides, more Pennsylvanians are receiving more and better behavioral health care than ever before.
Health care is increasingly focused on the quadruple aim of better outcomes, lower costs, healthier populations, and happier providers. The drive to provide services that promote these goals means decisionmakers must be creative in supporting the people they serve. In behavioral health, peer support specialists are key to meeting this aim.
Six months ago, Duncan Gaskins was homeless, living on the street by the Camden waterfront, desperate for a reason not to backslide to the time when he had found comfort in drugs and security in a gang.
Then, an outreach worker made him an offer: a day’s work, and $75 in his pocket.
On behalf of iNAPS, a national workgroup has developed a proposed definition for peer support specialist to submit for federal standard occupational classification through the US Department of Labor. The draft of this definition was presented at the Annual Conference in December and we received much valuable feedback.
We are asking you to complete this short survey regarding the proposed definition so that we can move forward with submission.
WILMINGTON, DE — Nearly eight years ago, Geraldo Gonzalez was frustrated that people didn’t take his art seriously. He’d faced rejection and misunderstanding with his technicolor drawings of public transit vehicles. Eight years later, Gonzalez has exhibited art at the Delaware Contemporary, the Delaware Art Museum and many other local venues.
Philadelphia, PA, January 30, 2019 – Mental Health Partnerships (MHP) reminds the public that the eradication of the Kensington encampments does not address the crises of homelessness and addiction. We believe that everyone deserves a safe place to live and a choice in how they approach their recovery. We look forward to partnering with the City and collaborating agencies to make a positive impact on these crises.
Call 1-888-545-2600 24/7 365 days/year to gain assistance with accessing publicly funded Substance Use Disorder (SUD) treatment and services.
Community Behavioral Health (CBH) manages behavioral health services for Philadelphia residents enrolled in Medicaid and can also assist you if you are uninsured or not sure of your insurance coverage.
The January 2019 Key Update is now on the (virtual) newsstand: The Key Update
Read scary stuff: how dangerous psychiatric hospitals are still accredited, and how the FDA reclassified ECT equipment into a lower-risk category despite decades of advocacy to prevent it!
There are exciting webinars (one tomorrow—January 24—and two on January 29); a great technical assistance opportunity from BRSS TACS (deadline January 31 at 8 p.m. ET); the launch of the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems;
Behavioral Health Commissioner: 100% MAT Availability in Philadelphia by January 1, 2020
PHILADELPHIA – Behavioral Health Commissioner David T. Jones today announced that by January 1, 2020 individuals with opioid use disorder in Philadelphia will be able to access Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT), the gold standard for treating opioid addiction, through any of the 80 residential drug treatment programs under contract with the city.
While some form of MAT is available now at most programs, the behavioral health department’s Community Behavioral Health (CBH) division issued, and is enforcing, a contract mandate to achieve 100% MAT availability throughout Philadelphia’s entire residential drug treatment system by the announced deadline. The behavioral health department has achieved 65 percent availability to date. Any residential program that does not make MAT available by January 1, 2020 will not have their provider agreement with CBH renewed.
“Medication-Assisted Treatment is the most effective treatment available for stabilizing an individual experiencing opioid withdrawal, curbing their cravings and preventing relapse,” said Commissioner Jones. “It’s helping us keep more people with opioid use disorder alive and in long-term sustainable recovery than any other form of treatment.”
MAT is the use of Methadone, Buprenorphine and Vivitrol in combination with behavioral therapies and counseling. It can reduce mortality rates among individuals with opioid use disorder by more than 50 percent. The behavioral health department, which spearheads addiction treatment for the city, has made expanding access to MAT and increasing its use and availability its top strategy in fighting back against the opioid crisis, which continues dominating Philadelphia’s spending on treatment for substance use disorder.
CBH, the public health insurance payer within the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), spent $83.7 million on opioid use disorder treatment in 2016 and $90.3 million in 2017. By comparison, CBH spent just under $30 million treating people for cocaine addiction in both 2016 and 2017 and did not exceed $27 million on treatment for alcoholism either year.
“When it comes to treating Philadelphians for any kind of substance use disorder, opioid use disorder continues to account for the lion’s share of our direct treatment costs making it even more critical for us to expand the use of MAT across the city,” Commissioner Jones said.
In addition to requiring 100% MAT availability by January 1, 2020, the behavioral health department added 3,000 MAT slots for opioid use disorder bringing the city’s total MAT capacity to 12,479 slots of which 23% or 2,900 are currently available – 1,070 available for Methadone and 1,836 for Buprenorphine and Vivitrol.
Perhaps equally impressive is that of the 453 health care professionals in Philadelphia who completed the necessary training to obtain a waver required to prescribe Buprenorphine for treating opioid use disorder, almost half – 217 – came through the DBHIDS Buprenorphine waver trainings resulting in up to 21,700 Philadelphians gaining access to this highly effective medication. DBHIDS Buprenorphine waver trainings are available to any doctors, physician assistants and nurse practitioners seeking to obtain their waver to prescribe Buprenorphine.
“We are seeing both the rate and the distinct number of individuals with opioid use disorder participating in Medication-Assisted Treatment increase as a direct result of our continued focus on expanding MAT access and availability across Philadelphia,” said Commissioner Jones.
A comparison of the third quarter across Fiscal Years 2015 through 2018 shows a 36 percent increase in the number of distinct individuals participating in MAT. An even more dramatic 83 percent increase is shown for the number of individuals receiving Buprenorphine over the same period.
To further expand access to, availability of and use of MAT in Philadelphia, DBHIDS, largely through its CBH division: * Deploys mobile access units daily to Kensington to bring community members addicted to opioids into treatment while maintaining a weekly presence at the mural arts Kensington Storefront.
* Removed barriers preventing people from accessing MAT including urine drug screenings, vital signs and prescriber letters while reducing the use of IDs for accessing treatment.
* Conducts warm handoffs to treatment at hospital emergency rooms since many survivors of overdose are transported to the ER.
* Provided funding for the expansion of Temple Episcopal Crisis Response Center, which will increase the hospital’s capacity to engage, assess and treat people with opioid use disorder.
* Provided funding for the city's first 24/7 opioid treatment unit, Access Point at NET, which offers MAT around-the-clock for immediate withdrawal stabilization enabling families to bring loved ones in for treatment the moment they say they’re ready.
* Conducted 26 two-day trainings to help clinicians completing assessments for opioid use disorder accurately determine the appropriate level of care for people on an individual basis.
* Conducts a monthly series supporting drug treatment programs in aligning substance use services with best practice and incentivizing them to enhance the quality of their substance use disorder screening, treatment and workforce.
Mental health can have a serious impact on a business. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 80% of adults with depression reported at least some difficulty with work, home, or social activities because of their depression symptoms.
Unfortunately, disorders like anxiety and depression often go undetected for months or years. Unlike physical illnesses, mental health issues are more challenging to pinpoint.
Even though mental health can often be a taboo topic, especially in the workplace, it appears that employees want their employer to champion mental health and well-being.
The bridge of hope is a human one, forged from the bravery and resilience of individuals like James Sherrick and Ken Miller. As the new CEO of Mental Health Partnerships, I am proud to lead an organization comprised of peers, exceptional individuals like James and Ken whose valuable lived experience allows MHP to support thousands of people in their recovery journey each year.
James and Ken have my deep respect not only for the tremendous work they are doing in our community, but for sharing some of the challenges to becoming a Certified Peer Support Specialist. As the demand for Certified Peers continues to grow, we need to find ways to make trainings more accessible and this career path more sustainable. I applaud Aneri Pattani for highlighting both the great need for and the challenges facing peers who want to help someone else walk their path to recovery. ~Dr. Adriana Torres-O'Connor
On behalf of Governor Wolf’s Unified Opioid Command Center, I would like to let you know of a new online tool launching to help individuals identify drug and alcohol treatment options and supportive services for themselves or a loved one.
A team comprised of staff from the Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Human Services worked together to create the Drug and Alcohol Referral Tool (DART) to centralize the ways to connect a person to drug and alcohol treatment as well as related support resources. The DART can be found at www.ddap.pa.gov/GetHelp.
The DART is a free, anonymous resource. Results are generated based on a person’s answers to the nine (9) questions included, and users may skip a question at any point. When they finish the questionnaire, they will be able to email, download, and/or print their results. The tool is not a diagnostic assessment and does not gauge eligibility for any programs listed in a person’s results.
Thank you for your continued support as we help Pennsylvanians affected by substance use disorder.
Lynn Kovich, Deputy Secretary Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Department of Human Services
Are you a health care hero or do you know someone who is?
The National Council for Behavioral Health is looking for people, groups, and organizations that have made a difference in the lives of people with mental illnesses and addictions – through treatment, advocacy, leadership, management, and technology.
If you would like to submit a nomination, please use the newly streamlined form here, by Monday, January 7, 2019.
They are looking for nominations of exceptional individuals in the behavioral health settings, including Peer Support Workers.
Nominate yourself or a colleague, register for NatCon19, and grab your seats for the Awards of Excellence celebration, Tuesday, March 26, 2019, in beautiful and historic Nashville.
The Awards of Excellence will have it all – golden trophies, heartfelt speeches and top-notch entertainment. Why would you want to be anywhere else?
The Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services will be making training available to county staff and providers in 2019 to enable their mental health services to better meet the needs of individuals who are transgender or gender nonconforming. There will be both online and in-person opportunities with at least one in-person training targeted to each OMHSAS Region.
The Gender and Sexuality Development Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia is partnering with OMHSAS to develop this training specific to the needs of our mental health system. In order to ensure they appropriately meet staff needs, they have created a survey to gather feedback. If you would like to provide your input, the survey will be open through December 20, 2018.